Even Stephen Colbert is trying to give President Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his historic summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore this week. But his guest on Monday, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, was not feeling very hopeful.
“He wants to make friends with the countries where leaders kill people,” Matthews said of Trump on The Late Show couch. “This little guy over in North Korea, the guy who was supposed to be in charge of him, his uncle, he killed him. And then he killed his half brother.” He added, “The guy has killed about 300 people around they know about. Look at Putin: he kills journalists. These are awful people, and he wants to become best friends with them.”
Playing devil’s advocate, Colbert said that if Trump succeeds in North Korea, “god bless him.” When Matthews let out a laugh, the host added, “You have to think the best, you have to hope your president succeeds in that condition.”
“This is not a date,” Matthews said. “This is not just lunch. It’s not going to work.”
“Maybe he’ll take him furniture shopping,” Colbert joked, making a reference to Trump’s preferred date with married women.
“Even the bad countries in the world know we’re the greatest country,” Matthews said. “That’s something we have to understand. They all want to be invited to sit down with us because they know we’re the greatest country ever and it’s a fact, it’s a hard thing for cynics to buy, but you don’t have to be a good person to recognize this is a great country. And this little guy wants to meet with our guy and sit down together tonight and look like equals.”
Colbert, meanwhile, wanted to know what a realistic goal for the United States is coming out of the summit: “The objective is denuclearization, which I said is a worthy goal, if he can get it, god bless him, give him the Nobel Prize, I don’t care, just make the world safer. But experts are saying that the chance they will give up their nukes are very slim and yet Kim gets what he wants, which is equal footing with the most powerful man in the world.”
Matthews told the host that he’s “worried about Trump getting fooled” by Kim Jong Un into pulling U.S. troops out of South Korea without getting any real concessions from North Korea. He predicted that Kim will “cut a deal that separates us from South Korea.”
“But I’m with you, Stephen,” Matthews finally added later, changing his pessimistic tune. “If it makes the world safer, let’s all applaud and move on. I hope we do make the world safer. If they agree to restrain their testing of nuclear weapons, if they agree to restrict their testing of missiles, I mean, that would be good.”